How Twitter Is Impacting Professional Athletes and Their Sports

Brittany Johnson@brittanyjo008Contributor IIIFebruary 27, 2013

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 25:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on February 25, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 119-108. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Twitter is having an impact on the world of sports. Athletes are expected to have a Twitter, in which their private thoughts are broadcast to the world. It is the perfect tool to quickly give out information to fans. Through its mechanisms, Twitter is influencing athletes and sports in general.

But, is it a positive or negative influence? There are benefits, but Twitter can also be dangerous for an athlete's image. Still, no matter what the influence, Twitter does play a role in an athlete's profession.

Because the world of sports is publicized, an athlete's Twitter becomes fair game. Athletes and other users alike are prone to tweet their private thoughts. Whether it be what they ate or a rant about a fellow competitor, Twitter becomes an athlete's diary.

This presents a problem. Athletes' tweets are unprotected. This gives fans and the media easy access. Too many times have we seen athletes tweeting impulsively, and offending someone else. For example, during the 2012 Summer Olympics, many Olympians were removed due to their tweets.

Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was removed after tweeting a racist tweet mocking African immigrants. She had a history of retweeting YouTube videos advocating a far-right party. Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella was also removed due to a racist tweet.

The trend continued during the London Olympics. Twitter was proving to be lethal for these athletes.

You begin to wonder if they have figured out the definition of an unprotected account. The minute a tweet is sent, it goes viral. Hiding is impossible in Twitter. Everything is exposed.

And athletes are baring everything. They're meant to be role models, but their Twitter paints a different picture.

Recently, Twitter wars have captured massive attention. Because an athlete is safe behind a computer screen, talking smack becomes an easy task. Relationships between competitors take on a virtual facet where boundaries are few.

Hope Solo is no stranger to calling out other athletes. During the London Olympics, she blasted former US soccer star Brandi Chastain.

Whether an athlete wants to be a role model or not, malicious and vindictive behavior doesn't look good, especially when you let the whole world know.

Twitter breeds a competitive nature amongst athletes. For the upcoming showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Robert Guerrero, Guerrero amped up the fight with a response to Floyd's tweet. Before the AFC Championship Game, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo bashed the New England Patriots.

The list goes on and on. Athletes aren't afraid to confront their opponents through Twitter. That is what the world of sports has become. It's less about what you bring to the field, and more about what you say in a tweet.

It all seems to be negative.

But, Twitter has positive clout. The sports world can immediately send out information through Twitter. Fans are more up-to-date than ever on sports news. Twitter is fast-paced and to the point. Breaking news is easier to convey through Twitter than through a website. Twitter users can glance at their time line to find out who won what.

Also, fans can connect to their favorite athletes. We're all just one tweet away from LeBron James or Kobe Bryant (if you're curious, take a look at Bryant's Twitter). Twitter has broken the fourth wall and given fans a glimpse into the daily life of an athlete.

So, is it worth it? Has Twitter become a necessity in the world of sports?

Maybe so. Just imagine athletes not having a Twitter: less controversy, but less entertainment. Despite the negatives, Twitter has done good for sports. Athletes become one of us, and that is reason enough to accept Twitter for what it is.